Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How not to fight the flab

Pa's aunt and uncle dropped by last week to visit, and also get a glimpse of our little fella. But they reserved a little surprise for Pa's appearance.

"Why... you've... well... grown prosperous," they stammered after a pause, during which you could almost see the frantic mental clawing-about for a polite phrase. As in, alternative to 'fat', 'tubby' or 'lardy'.

Unfortunately, any of those terms would have justifiably applied. Pa has certainly gained a kilogram, or two, or dozen, since Sonny joined us (as has been noticed in previous posts; click here for a refresher). The good news is that he's recently launched a carefully calibrated, come-back fitness routine - which is a fancy way of saying that he's tried to trot round the block at least once or twice a week. In case that sounds rather desultory, Pa explains that he is slowly 'building up' to a proper exercise programme, which will presumably feature extensive high-speed workouts and impressively regular explosions of energy.

At the moment, of course, even the thought of such exertion is liable to leave Pa drained. However, as a gesture towards that glorious future, he has resolutely refused to purchase new clothes - not wishing to load up on sizes that will "fairly soon" prove saggy and excessive. There is something of the noble optimist (if not the fantasist) about all this, yet perhaps this is the ideal attitude to which to approach parenting too. After all, we don't want to linger morbidly on the prospect of months or years of being peppered with inane kiddy requests, tantrums and assorted other headaches, so we simply gaze right through them - as though they were transparent - and gaze into the future vista of well-brought up, exquisitely well-behaved offspring that will also fetch and carry on command.

Of course, this will not make the grunt work go away - whether this be the exercise undertaken on the road to flab-fighting or the child-caring that must go into producing the useful errand-absorbing youngster. The best thing to be said about either endeavour is that the first steps have been taken, with many more to come. Best enjoy the enjoyable parts or just push through the painful ones... though Pa might protest that there really aren't too many 'enjoyable' aspects to the dreariness of self-punishment.

Exercise enthusiasts are welcome to contribute proofs to the contrary...